Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cattle Prodding Your Writing!

So, there you are staring at your screen, keyboard, pen, or whatever writing apparatus you use, and you discover there have been no words printed.  And you've been sitting there for like at least 15 minutes and you think, "Why are there no words yet?"  What's really missing?  Your motivation, that's what.  Last post, I gave some pointed tips to help you jump start your career as a super powerful writer.  Some of it bordered on crude frankness, but needed to be brought out in the open.  Quickly, go review that list (it's somewhat NSFW), but be back in exactly three minutes.  Wait!  Did you remember the coffee?  

As you progress in your super powerful career, you are bound to hit a "writer's block."  Don't be ashamed.  It happens to us all, and no, masturbation won't cure it.  Running your forehead into a wall won't work and wacking your ears as if water is stuck in them won't work.  So...what to do.  I'll give you a prescription, even though I'm not a doctor.  

  1. Make sure you are reading!  Reading and writing are two sides of the same language coin.  If you're a fiction writer, then read fiction.  It can be outside your genre, but probably best to read mainly the same kinds of fiction you write.  This will stimulate your language portion of your brain.  Think of it as a mental enema.
  2. Listen to classical music!  Couple this with reading and caffeine, and your brain will be on fire.  Once in a while switch to hard rock, smooth jazz or any jazz, but mainly stick with classical.  Again, this stimulates your creative and logical portions of your brain.  Fiber for healthy mental processes.
  3. Don't eat crappy food!  If you eat poorly, you will think or do anything else poorly.  Your brain loves protein and complex carbohydrates.  Treat it right by feeding it what it needs. 
  4. Avoid obnoxious kid shows!  I won't list them, but if you have kids, you know which one's leave you mentally numb.  Tune it out at all cost.  (Think what it's doing to your kids, but anything to keep them away while you're writing, right?)  Pull out the classical music and head phones.  In fact, it's just better to avoid any or all TV while writing.
  5. Just spend time writing nonsense!  Why do you think I do this blog?  Actually, just writing anything as often as you can is good practice.  This is one good use of social media sites, especially Twitter.  It forces you to be concise and focus your thoughts.
  6. Have multiple projects!  If you get stuck with one, pull out another.  
  7. Have a notebook and pen handy!  Jot down ideas that come to you.  
  8. Make an outline!  I make my outlines by hand, but you don't have to.  It doesn't have to be formal and you can stray from it.  There's something about an outline that is freeing, at least for me.
  9. Find someone to hold you accountable!  In school, you had a teacher do this for you, whether it was your choice or not.  Well, you're grown now, so it's your job to find someone.  You won't get in trouble, but we were all kids once and some of those feelings of being in trouble with the teacher will suddenly come back to you.  And you'll get it done...unless you were a total goof-off in school.  Goof-offs are better at satirical writing or comic strips, if you can draw. 
  10. Get out of the house once in a while!  Go and see the Sun or just daylight.  For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it's autumn and there's plenty of color on them leaves.  Hermit writers end up writing wacked-out manifestos and wreaking havoc like the Unabomber.  Don't let this be you!
If none of this works, try shoving a cattle prod...uh...use a cattle prod in a manner that will give you the right kick in the pants.  Now, you are all set to cure writer's block and any problems with motivation.  (None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA.  But it's okay...they're shutdown!)  Have a good week.  Be good to yourselves!

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